Independent Release

Review by Lithium

When one thinks of metal, the words ‘sophisticated’ and ‘sexy’ are not exactly the first that spring to mind. In the case of Greek metallists Darcode, however, these descriptors are not only acceptable but altogether fitting. Darcode play an interesting brand of what I would describe as jazz-influenced, progressive metal. Their self-titled, seven-track demo includes six original songs and a cover version of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”. This choice of cover tune provides a glimpse into what what Darcode is all about; if you look in the dictionary under the words ‘sophisticated’ or ‘sexy,’ you will find a picture of Sade. The basic sound on this recording is eclectic and rather unique. Guitar and bass blend together into a distorted, sometimes non-descript buzz, as keyboard-driven melodies and haunting vocals float above the menacing turmoil. Opener “Never Alone” is a good example and one of the demo’s high points. A catchy, repeating piano part anchors the song as the irresistible vocal melody joins in. Meanwhile, the sinister low-end riffing lets us know that this is, in fact, metal. Another high point is “Wall of Demons”. Its spooky array of voices gives shape to the composition, as guitars dispense nifty, rhythmic pulses in bursts of three. Jazzy rhythms, sinister-sounding electronics and the plinkity-plink of a piano add to the other-worldly atmosphere and give the song a very creepy edge. Vocalist Elina Marquise delivers a first-rate performance that is both memorable and convincing. Her soft, evocative tones vary from soothing to frightening and back again, as she weaves her ethereal web, traps you in it, and devours you with the deliberateness and efficiency of a Black Widow spider. In “I Do Not Breathe” a choir is added to the usual mix of sounds to create a yet even more-ominous atmosphere for Elina’s chilling refrain: “I can hear your thoughts. They pierce my brain. I can feel your fears. They drive me insane.” Not what you would call typical metal lyrics, but Darcode is not your typical metal band. In fact, my only real complaint with this recording is with respect to the sound production. I thought the guitars could use more air in them, while the drum sound struck me as a bit hollow and thin. At times it seemed as if there were holes in the mix, and the whole thing sounded too bright. Still, with this demo Darcode has produced a fine piece of work. Their talent, creativity and potential are on full display on this disc, and with it they have proven themselves worthy of serious attention. Though their approach and sound ultimately may turn out to be a little too hip for the metal masses, this effort earns high praise and a positive recommendation. Male vocals: Minimal and limited mainly to a few brief choral parts. No growled male vocals.

Rating – 70/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Never Alone
  2. Walls of Demons
  3. Play Dead
  4. I Do Not Breathe
  5. A Sea of Whispers
  6. Calling
  7. No Ordinary Love (Sade Cover)

 

Line Up

  • Elina Marquise – Vocals & Lyrics
  • Antony Cyan – Guitars & Programming

 

Links

MySpace